Richard Murray, owner and operator of Hilltop Greenhouses in Saanich, stands among some of the 100,000 poinsettias they grow and sell each holiday season, the only large-scale producer on the south Island. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

A visit with the south Island’s only commercial poinsettia producer

Hilltop Greenhouses in Saanich grows 100,000 poinsettias a year

There’s only one major poinsettia producer on the south Island and business is strong.

Hilltop Greenhouses on West Burnside Road in Saanich started in the early 1970s and while poinsettia producers around the country are rare, business is steady with poinsettias covering a good range of Hilltop’s four-acre covered growing space.

The family run company sells most of the 100,000 poinsettias it grows each year on the Island. They can be found at grocery chains, independent florists and garden centres and are becoming a popular fundraising item.

“That’s a growing segment for us, churches, schools, clubs and hockey teams,” said Richard Murray, whose parents started the business. “Some groups buy 1,000 plants off us, groups from as far as Parksville-Qualicum, it’s a big fundraiser for them.”

There are easier crops to grow than poinsettias. “Unrooted cuttings” are planted in June and July and Hilltop grows about 20 different varieties, mostly reds, yellows and combinations as such. They sell as four-inch, six-inch and 10-inch plants.

“They’re not easy, they’re pretty tricky actually, but with years of experience, it’s repeatable,” Murray said.

Otherwise, Hilltop produces bedding plants and hanging plants in the spring, and relies on a daily harvest of long English cucumber production in the summer. Workers are still picking cukes three times a week in December, albeit from a smaller crop.

The City of Victoria and Butchart Gardens are known to grow poinsettias but not for sale.

For now, it’s poinsettia season at Hilltop, though the floor of one greenhouse is covered in fuschia seedlings ahead of Mother’s Day, the next crop in an ongoing cycle. Hilltop poinsettias are only sold at a commercial level but are easy enough to find in stores around town.

reporter@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Province rejects criticism from Saanich councillor over McKenzie Interchange

Transportation ministry says project will ‘significantly lower’ greenhouse gas emissions

UPDATE: Father on trial for murder describes being ‘tackled’ and ‘stabbed’ in Oak Bay apartment

Oak Bay father takes stand in his defense for December 2017 deaths of young daughters

Police rule out foul play in death of man found in Saanich

The B.C. Coroners Service will now conduct an investigation

West Shore RCMP snag suspected thief with bait bike

GPS-equipped bike leads police to arrest suspect in Langford

New police force in Surrey must avoid VPD, RCMP errors made in Pickton case: Oppal

Boots are scheduled to be on the ground by spring 2021

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of Aug. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Should there be a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers?

We’ve all heard them, and most likely cursed them under our breath.… Continue reading

Striking Western Forest Products workers could lose benefits in September

Union, forest company at odds over Vancouver Island benefit payments as strike enters third month

Conan turns to the Property Brothers for tips on buying Greenland

Jonathan Scott suggests removing glaciers and mountains to bring in ‘more natural light’

Forests minister visits B.C. town rocked by multiple mill shutdowns

A third of Mackenzie turns out for rally, not much to cheer about

B.C. music teacher accused of sexual misconduct involving girls

Police believe other victims could be out there after the arrest of Lamar Victor Alviar

Most Read